Hand Expressing Breastmilk Checklist

Hand Expressing Breastmilk Checklist

A checklist to follow when expressing breastmilk.


  1. Have a clean sterilised container to hand before you start.
  2. Cup your breast and feel back from the end of the nipple to where the texture of your breast feels different.
  3. Using your thumb and the rest of your fingers in a C shape, gently squeeze this area - this shouldn't hurt.
  4. Release the pressure and then repeat again and again, building up a rhythm. Avoid sliding your fingers over the skin. At first, only drops will appear, but just keep going as it will help build up your supply. With practice and a little more time, milk will flow freely.
  5. When the flow slows down, move your fingers round to try a different section of your breast and repeat. When that flow slows down, swap to the other breast. Keep changing breasts until the milk is dripping very slowly or stops altogether.
  6. If the milk doesn't flow, try moving your fingers slightly towards the nipple or further away, and try a gentle breast massage.

Watch a video on hand expressing

Watch a video on expressing and storing breastmilk from the Global Health Media Project

See the main page on expressing breastmilk, with video and translated key messages

This page last reviewed 31 May 2022.

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